New Orleans has a defender of democracy in Orleans Parish School Board President, Thomas Robichaux. Robichaux is clearly aware that as the public space recedes in these late days of casino capitalism, corporate fascism advances, and he is unafraid to say as much. He is also keenly aware that for schools to be public, they must have public governance. For all intents and purposes, the vast majority of corporate charters, whether for profit or non-profit, fail this crucial test.
Robichaux is as insistent as anyone, arguing that public education is not really "public" unless local voters have a say in who governs it. Charter schools in New Orleans, he says, should answer to the local board, not a state board that meets most of the time in Baton Rouge and has only two members with constituents in the city.And then there is Florida, whose portfolio of school privatization tools is more balanced between non-public charters and private school vouchers. There, the nation's second most unpopular governor has signed a new bill to give even more millions next year in dollar for dollar tax credits to businesses that provide money for private school vouchers.
Robichaux takes the argument further than most, though. He worries that Gov. Bobby Jindal is out to charter every school in the state and sees the Republican bent for privatization as a cousin of the fascism that Benito Mussolini imposed on 1930s Italy.
"The modern Republican party is very fascist-oriented," Robichaux said. "It's modern fascism -- corporations taking over the government."